Mainframe > Trends > IBM Announcements

Enterprise COBOL 5.1—Where Tradition Meets Innovation


Improving Productivity

Enterprise COBOL V5.1 raised the total size of all data items in a working-storage or local-storage section to 2GB, and the maximum size of an individual data item to 999,999,999 bytes. New built-in functions are added to improve programmability of UTF-8 applications, thus improving COBOL applications’ ability to process UTF-8 data in DB2 and XML documents.

The new release continues to allow debugging of optimized production code. Debug information is stored in the NOLOAD segment of the program object. As a result, the footprint of the executable won’t increase. To improve application maintainability, a new floating comment indicator (*>) is added for developers to use anywhere in the program-text area to indicate that the text on the line is a comment line.

“COBOL V5 emphasizes IBM’s commitment to our existing COBOL application base while improving its interoperability with our open systems components, explains Michael A. Todd, a software architect for a multi-national financial services company. “IBM has addressed a number of architectural limits within the previous compiler, thereby extending the life of my extensive COBOL inventory. They continue to improve XML capabilities and UNICODE support, enabling us to reuse existing components.”

Additional benefits offered by Enterprise COBOL V5.1 include:

  • Reduced administration costs. The latest version supports a new level of z/OS System Management Facilities (SMF) tracking, allowing users who implement subcapacity tracking to reduce their administrative overhead.
  • Support for the latest middleware. It provides up-to-date programming interfaces for latest CICS, DB2 and IMS. The integrated DB2 and CICS coprocessors enable strong integration with the latest middleware technologies.
  • Support for modern development tools and solutions. By supporting the ecosystem of COBOL development tools from IBM and ISVs, it enables companies to expedite migration and application-performance tuning with IBM’s latest continuous integration solution.

COBOL Commitment

Enterprise COBOL for z/OS V5.1 affirms IBM’s commitment to COBOL customers on System z. With the new optimization framework, it delivers compelling performance improvement. Because it maintains source and binary compatibility with older COBOL releases, many applications may gain performance simply by recompiling the code.

Going forward, the new optimization framework will provide a solid foundation for delivering a release-to-release performance improvement roadmap for COBOL on System z. Therefore, it’s important to stay current with latest COBOL technology. Organizations can’t maximize their return on investment unless they stay current with latest compiler technology.

Roland Koo is product manager, Compilers, with IBM, responsible for C, C++, Fortran, COBOL and PL/I compiler products on POWER, System z and BlueGene.


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